Tag Archive | novel

I Am My Worst Critic

And (write)fully so!

I decided to review We’re Family…Right? ten months after shelving it, thanks to that full request I received during my break. Dare I say…I was appalled…by the word structuring, word choices, hell…the writing as a whole.

I can’t believe that a year ago, I believed that I submitted “a work of art”.  Boy…reality can be so cruel.

Today, I learned the real meaning of “You’re not a true writer until you’ve written several books…that you’ve filed away to never see the light of a publishing house.” Ok, that may not have been the exact quote, but its many variations can be read across the web. And you know what? It’s true. “Why” you ask? Because simply put – the more you write, the more you learn, the more you grow and a better writer you become. That was one reason WFR wasn’t great (IMHO, of course), but it’s also because I realized that writing in a certain style doesn’t suit me. It was the second novel I’ve written in first person. :: face palm :: I thought it was the only style for me that allowed me to project more emotion into my writing. Oh, how wrong was I. Like Yesterday is in third person, and I can [prematurely] say that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I am not only able to share the feelings of one character but several. It gives my MS an added dimension that my first two MSS lacked. I have more freedom with sentence structure as the narrator takes on a different persona than the characters without restriction.

So, what do I do w/ WFR? I’ve always had the intention of converting it into a family saga, but rewriting it? I don’t know if I even have the slightest of care. I do want to produce a family saga, but I’m not sure if that family is the way to go. We shall see. Like Yesterday is my #1 priority right now. Perhaps if this “work of art” (lol) lands me an agent and, subsequently, a publishing deal, then I’ll make that call.

 

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New on the Page, Titillate Tuesday

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Here’s something off the top of my head that sets up a scene from my latest MS:

Salt escaped from the aphotic ocean, only to be trapped by wind as it whistled songs of roar heard by merely two. Their skin merged as one and remained undisturbed by airs and crashing waters against their bare feet. They orchestrated music of their own in the sound of moaning whispers, producing tears of relief.

As usual, it is just a tease 😉 and brand spanking new just for you. I’ll fatten it up only to trim it later to add to my MS. This.should.be.interesting.

 

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Titillate Tuesday

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Are you ready for a bit more teasing?;) These portions are from “Like Yesterday”, my latest MS. Here, we have the good doctor and Mrs. Siler meeting each other for the first time.

The doctor waited in his chair for her to speak of her intentions. He watched as she took sluggish sips of her coffee, twirling her straight shoulder-length hair with a russet hue in between sips. He didn’t say a word; he merely admired her beauty hidden underneath frumpy threads. His eyes steadied at her quivering hands as she held her mug. On the backside of her left wrist, he detected an Aries zodiac tattoo, appearing faded as if she had it for years. Her brown skin further commanded his attention. Its texture mimicked bronze satin upon the body of a goddess illumined beneath a supermoon sky.

Noticing the doctor gawking at her, Mrs. Siler cleared her throat and said, “My apologies. I just didn’t get much sleep last night.”

And #2…

He stood hardened against the floor as he fixated on the woman who bolted from his presence. Her name was as vague as one floating around on a Sunday mailer, and her daughter bore no identity. The mysteriousness of her visit weighed on his mind but was conquered by the remnants of her scent. She smelled of wilted blossoms dipped in honeyed nectar—another thing he recognized but not from his darling Meredith.

Next week, I’ll type something brand new, just off the top of my big ass head. It may relate to “Like Yesterday” or…it may not. 😉 Stay tuned.

 

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Titillate Tuesday

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Yesterday, I wrote about my favorite scenes I write and the music that inspires me to write them. Well, today, I’m going to share a couple of snippets from those scenes.

When I said “love scenes”, some may think that I’m solely referring to sex. But “love scenes” are about chemistry and connection more so than the act itself. (The act itself, believe it or not, is a huge struggle for me to write. So, my writing style of those scenes have changed to reflect that struggle. ;)) The first snippet is more about lust while the second shows where lust is starting to become something more. (Disclaimer: These are WIP [works in progress] and may be edited beyond recognition by the time the MS [manuscript] is completed.) 

Although Vincent quieted his giggles, his grinning remained. Something about Carmen made him happy—just looking at her imperfectly perfect smile or smelling her heavily applied floral-scented perfume or mesmerized by the bang that swept over her left eye, adding to her mystery. He couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. No picture or chat message could explain her better than she could sitting in his presence, where her real laugh exploded beyond a typed “LOL” and her smile stretched wider than a cold colon and closed parenthesis. Her southern accent provided him with bouts of entertainment, particularly with her overuse of “y’all” and “fixin’”. But most of his attention drew towards her clothing, how her striped top clung to her full breasts but revealed no cleavage and how her loose-fitting shorts stopped inches above her knee, showcasing her sprinter legs. Her exposed toenails were freshly painted in taxi yellow. She offered just a hint to pique his sexual interest.

Vincent forced himself from his wandering thoughts. “So, tell me. Why are you single?”

And…No. 2

Carmen walked her overnight guest to the exit, her hands fidgeting as she adhered them to her bare belly. She paused short of opening the door with no words to follow and turned towards a man not her own, wanting to part with an improper goodbye. He took a speechless Carmen by both hands and reeled her in towards his breath. Her heartbeat galloped across her chest and down into the crease between her thighs. Their fingers gripped together with passion but their eyes refused to meet. Carmen’s chin remained leveled to his chest where her eyes found their home. Her lips parted and uttered a sound that resembled that of a “W” but with vibrations. But before she completed the word, Vincent’s lips planted a tender kiss upon her forehead. She released a breath of air trapped by her nerves and freed his hands in reluctance. Her desire for more settled into the pit of satisfaction as a grin appeared upon her face. Vincent leaned into her breasts, tilting his head towards her right ear and whispered “Good luck” before exiting into the risen sun.

As you’ve probably figured out from those sneak peeks, the two MCs (main characters) are Vincent and Carmen. You’ll learn more about them as I share more words, lines, and scenes (not too much; don’t want to give away the cow) as I get closer to finishing the MS. Hopefully, that day will get here soon enough.

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Interview with Author Alice Dee

Happy June, everybody! Summer is almost here, but the weather is screaming “Summer is here NOW!”, and this gal right here is stoked! Pool days, BBQs, less to no clothing…

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TMI? Okay…let’s move on then.

To start June off on a fresher and cleaner note ;), I got the chance to interview Author Alice Dee as she discussed her newly published novel, Dance for Me.

Dance for Me is available today on Amazon in Kindle format but will be available for FREE download on June 10 and June 11.

Dance for Me

Hi, Alice! So…tell us more about yourself. Where are you from? When did you first get that desire—the calling—to write?

I was born in Los Angeles and have lived in southern California all my life.

I realized writing was my future when I was nine years old. I think I was in the third grade and I remember crying over this three paragraph dictation I had to write ten times for not doing my homework. I thought I couldn’t stomach writing of any kind until we were given a writing assignment where we used symbols and words.  It was only supposed to be like one page but I couldn’t stop writing. I went on to write about seven pages. That’s how it all started.

What inspired you to write Dance for Me? Was any part of the story written from your own experiences?

I had two finished novels sitting on my hard drive while I was researching the industry. I wanted to move on from those two novels—published or not—for the time being and start the next project. I began by thinking of places I’ve been and Las Vegas came to mind. So I had a setting but no characters or even a story.  I was watching a UFC fight on TV one night and my MC Dominic just sort of manifested. My stories have a little somberness to them, and though my female MC was shaped for a completely different project, she brought that melancholy feel to the story. She was perfect for the novel.

The only experiences in the novel that are my own would be being in love and how it feels. The characters take what I know and do their own thing. I just let the story unravel and dramatize it while trying to keep it as real as possible.

Although you have written two other novels, Dance for Me is your first published one. Do you have any plans to publish the other two?

I’ll be releasing my first novel, Dark Liquid Blue, sometime this summer. My second novel will most likely be released this fall.

Dance for Me is Urban Contemporary fiction, but you have also written a children’s book. Will you continue to write children’s books or is your writing passion more so in the Adult category?

The children’s book was originally a school project for my little sister. I really liked how it turned out and it was a lot of fun to write. Now that I have small kids of my own, I definitely want to write more children’s books. I also plan to write at least one Y.A. novel. As I get older my material and characters seem to age with me so adult fiction will probably be my main genre.

What is your favorite part of the book? What was the hardest part for you to write?

My favorite part of the book is Night at the Flamingo. This is the chapter where all the MCs are thrown together for the first and last time in the book. The setting, situation and tension were perfect. It was really fun to write.

The part I had most trouble writing was a hookup scene with Hope and Shane. I couldn’t bring myself to write it. It’s strange, like Hope had strong feelings for Dominic and I couldn’t write in sharing that passion without another character. It just didn’t work. I had to do a lot of reevaluating and rewrites to get things to flow.

I noticed that you went the self-publishing route. Did you consider trade publishing at all or did you prefer the control of self-publishing? How has the process been for you thus far?

About a year and a half ago I snapped out of this haze I was living in and decided that I REALLY want to put my work out there. Slowly my dreams were being crushed when I realized I would most likely have to land an agent to link me to a publisher. It’s like you need a middle man to link you to another middle man to link you to readers. That was discouraging for me. I tried the query thing but deep down I felt like it was a gamble with odds not in my favor and like most, I have no time to waste. I’m not ruling out traditional publishing in the future, but for now, self-publishing is for me.

So far, self-publishing has been arduous but I’m really enjoying it. I like that I own all rights to my work and am in charge of everything down to cover art. The toughest part is no doubt self- promotion, but it is a lot of fun and therefore doesn’t seem like work. It also helps that I’m kind of an entrepreneur at heart.

If you weren’t a writer, what could you picture yourself doing instead?

I could see myself designing clothes and shoes or maybe owning a thrift store. That would be awesome.

Are you working on any new projects that you would like to share with readers?

Right now I’m preparing my first novel Dark Liquid Blue for publication, and hopefully by early 2014 or sooner I’ll be hard at work on novel number four.

For those who may have questions or just want to follow your successes and progress, how can you be contacted?

I can be contacted through any one of these sites:
www.alice.co.nr
http://www.writerscafe.org/AliceDee
http://alicedeenovelist.blogspot.com/

Do you have any final words for your dedicated fans and prospective readers? Anything I may have missed that you feel the reading world should know about Alice Dee, the author?

As an author I feel it’s my duty to take the reader out of his/her element and kind of catapult him/her to another world. For anyone who’s ever been in love but wasn’t loved back, who was loved but couldn’t love back, or anyone who likes an entertaining drama filled story… this is for you.

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Alice Dee is an independent novelist. She is the author of three novels, one children’s book and several short pieces. While the majority of her work is intended for an adult audience, her ultimate goal is to reach readers of all ages by infiltrating various genres with her psychedelic writing style. When Alice is not hard at work crafting quality fiction for her readers, she enjoys spending time with her family, blasting underground hip hop, having fun and sleeping. She currently resides on the West Coast. (Courtesy of Alice’s website)

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Alice, thank you for granting me such a detailed and honest interview. Congratulations, and I look forward to hearing about your upcoming releases! Good luck to you!

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Interview with Author Agustin D. Martinez

Please join me in welcoming first-time published author Agustin D. “Gus” Martinez to the TPTW lounge.

Agustin Martinez

Gus’s debut novel The Mares of Lenin Park was published by Hollywood Books International and won the Prize Americana for Prose 2012. It is available today in Kindle format and will be released in hard copy within the next few weeks.

The Mares of Lenin Park


Hi, Gus! Tell us more about you. Where are you from? When did you first get that desire—the calling—to write?

I was born in Panama after my family fled Cuba after the Revolution. They lived in New York for a short period, but they just couldn’t acclimate to the cold weather, so my father found work in Panama, where they lived for five years before finally moving to Miami. I went to Miami as a baby and grew up there. I was lucky to have grown up in a bilingual home where stories of Cuba, past and present, were common. Having family that still lives in Cuba gave me great insight into the challenges that post-revolution Cubans experience. I was an English major at Florida State University, after which I became an English teacher in Miami. After moving to the DC area, I became a translator for a short period before returning to school and returning to teach High School English and Creative Writing. I received my Master’s from Johns Hopkins University and began my career as a school administrator. I became a high school principal and now work as an educational administrator in suburban VA (just outside DC).

I guess I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My sister Maria used to buy me books when I was a kid. She bought me everything from Sidney Sheldon to V.C. Andrews to Stephen King. We would discuss those books, which we devoured as if they were potato chips, for hours. My family is a family of storytellers. No matter when or why we get together, tall tales are told! So I guess I was born into the tradition of oral storytelling.

This is probably why I started my writing career as a playwright. I just loved dialogue, and I loved seeing my characters come to life on stage. That was a magical experience for me. I went on to write short fiction which focused mainly on life in Miami, specifically the unique experiences of exiles. The Mares of Lenin Park is my first novel.

What inspired you to write The Mares of Lenin Park? Was any part of the story written from your own experiences?

Although the novel is fiction, I made sure to dedicate time and effort in portraying the realities of Cuba today. Told from the eyes of a 14-year-old boy named Uli, the novel incorporates many of the stories I heard from family, friends, and students who had just arrived to America, fantastic stories that oftentimes seemed unreal. I just knew I had to write all those details down, and the product was my novel.

The Mares of Lenin Park seems like a heavy, emotional, and serious novel. What was it like writing it and how long did it take?

There are certainly parts of the book that are emotional and very serious; however, because the narrator is a 14-year-old boy, I couldn’t help but include some humorous details as well. That’s the beauty of the novel. It depicts how Cubans today, no matter how much they struggle, still find time to laugh, still have time to celebrate. At times, it was difficult for me to write because I continued to interview my father and siblings, as well as my family who still lives in Cuba. The stories they shared with me were sometimes heartbreaking, but I knew in order to be honest with readers, I had to make sure to include these details. At other times, it was quite easy, especially when it came to Uli’s and his cousin’s mischievousness.

The novel took me several years to write. I went back to edit the novel several times, making sure the themes I intended to make up the novel were well structured. Developing characters takes a long time, but I think the book is the better for it. If I had any advice for a writer is to walk away from the book or story for several days, even several weeks before going back to the editing process.

What is your favorite part of the book? What was the hardest part for you to write?

My favorite part of the book is when Uli and his cousin, Nestor, visit the compulsory work camp known as “trabajo voluntario.” It’s ironic that the compulsory camp is known even today as “voluntary.” That part of the book shows boys just being boys, regardless of the politics and philosophies that ensnare their daily lives.

Without wanting to give too much away, the most difficult part for me to write was when Uli finds himself alone on a boat at night, the fog engulfing his small boat. I wanted to make sure that the themes of lonesomeness and death and illusion v. reality were well crafted and infused with the plot. Uli’s loneliness and confusion in this part of the book was painful because it reminded me of all the stories my students told me about when they lunged out to sea just for the small chance that they’d make it to Florida, some of their families not even making it across safely.

How long did it take you to get published? What was the experience like for you?

That was an arduous process. I wrote literary agents and small publishing houses for over a year. Luckily, after winning Prize Americana for Prose in 2012, Hollywood Books International offered me a contract. I thought I would need an agent to get my book published, but the publisher worked directly with me. After signing the contract, the editing process between my publisher and me took about eight months. That was a rigorous and worthy experience. My editor pushed me to really take a look at the story I was trying to tell and made sure we had the best book possible before it went to print.

If you weren’t a writer, what could you picture yourself doing instead?

If I wasn’t a writer, I could see myself teaching again. I loved being a teacher, especially an English teacher. I was very passionate about teaching literature, and my students saw that. I can’t really see me doing anything else – other than being a world traveler! 🙂

Do you have any current projects that you want to share with readers?

I’m currently working on the sequel to Mares. The setting of the second novel takes place in Miami after Uli makes it across the Straits of Florida alone. This novel explores Uli adapting to a new life, to a new world. He struggles to fit in an American school yet, like so many immigrants, overcomes these challenges. Uli feels like an “in-betweener” in America, especially at school, but he learns to adapt as best he can and learns that he doesn’t have to give up that part of him that is still Cuban.

For those who may have questions or just want to follow your successes and progress, how can you be contacted?

Readers can contact me directly at gusmartinez67 (at) cox (dot) net.

Do you have any final words for your dedicated fans and prospective readers? Anything I may have missed that you feel the reading world should know about Agustin D. Martinez, the author?

I hope my fans love the characters, the themes, and the story itself. I think that no matter where the reader’s from, no matter what background he or she comes from, they will relate to the protagonist and to the challenges he faces. I would love to hear from fans, who can reach me at my personal email. The book is currently out on Amazon.com for Kindle and should be out in print later April/early May. Some readers have asked if they could have a signed copy of the book. I can give them details on how to receive one if they email me.

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Thank you, Gus, for allowing me to interview you. It’s always refreshing to see a writer make his/her debut with the talent and ambition to excel. I, as well as my blog followers I’m sure, appreciate you sharing your heritage within your works and giving us insight as to how you got published, something many writers strive for daily. Many wishes of success to you, Gus, and thank you again!

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Looking for a Beta Reader…or a few

help wanted
That’s right! I’m looking for a beta or a few to give We’re Family…Right? their attention and offer feedback on the plot, characters, voice, flow, continuity, etc. For those who aren’t familiar with it or need a refresher, you can scroll through my categories in the right-hand column and select “We’re Family…Right?” to retrieve past posts about it. ORRRR…why don’t I just make it simple for you and provide the easy link for you here? I’m the one seeking help; you would think I would make the process as painless as possible.

Although there’s somewhat of a romance element in WFR, it’s certainly not centered around that relationship (her marriage), so there are no sex scenes. (Ahh…boo…whaa whaa whaa! Just shut it already.lol)  It has minimal profanity and an interracial component.

NOW…if I get a couple of betas who feel like WFR could use a sultry scene or 2 (or 4 or 5) to give it that commercial edge, then hey…I’m here to listen. Just don’t go turning my contemporary fiction into an erotica, mkay?

What I’m looking for: Not a critique partner [not yet anyway]. Someone(s) who is an avid book reader. (IOW, don’t request to be a beta just to get a sneak peak. MAJOR REJECT stamp all across your forehead for that!) A hard [yet respectable] ass! Someone(s) who is reliable. Don’t have me doing this…waiting for you to respond…

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Yeah, WFR has been submitted to a few agents, but I know that now is better than never to give it a fresh pair of eyes. :: singing ::I’ve been looking for you

If you’re interested, you can leave a comment on this post, contact me via email, or hit me up on Twitter.

Thanks, ladies & gents!

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